Three Levels Down

If you want to sell more, more often, dig deep to unearth your buyer’s needs.

Generally stated Buyer needs are the problems your Buyer wants to resolve, and the resulting improved situation they desire. You knew that already, right? Where to from here?

For each sales opportunity there are in fact three levels of buyer needs to drill down into:

Level 1 needs: These are the basic needs your product or service meets by virtue of its features. For example if you sell industrial lighting, then illuminating a poorly lit work space is the Level 1 buyer need you meet.

Level 2 needs: These are the specific problems your buyer is facing as a result of his Level 1 need remaining un-met. In our lighting example your buyer is working in a dark space. His Level 1 need is illumination. His Level 2 need is the Pain(s) associated with the resultant poor quality work done due to the darkness.

Level 3 needs: This is the improved situation your buyer desires by fixing his problem situation. It can also be an overall improved situation he desires that is loosely connected with fixing his problems. In a word, Gains. In our lighting example the buyer’s Level 1 need is illumination, his Level 2 Need is to do good quality work, and his Level 3 Need is to do good quality work on this project and thus maintain his reputation as a quality home renovation contractor.

Navigating your sale down to Level 3 needs helps you sell more, more often, because of an interesting buyer phenomenon. That is that buyers will shop to meet their Level 1 needs, will make that purchase to meet their Level 2 needs, but will spend more money on that purchase if they can see that their Level 3 needs are also being met. This is because Level 3 needs are higher order needs. They represent the value the buyer is looking to realize by meeting his Level 2 needs. Buyers who recognize value are generally willing to pay for it.

If your goal is to merely meet your buyers Level 1 and Level 2 needs you will have satisfied, but not excited, buyers. You will also have buyers who are only willing to spend the minimum to meet those needs.

For our home renovation contractor, illuminating his dark work space is satisfying for him. Having a great reputation, being hired back, referred to others, and making more money? That’s exciting to him.

That’s Level 3 stuff.

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